Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
As delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council
32nd Session of the Human Rights Council
June 21, 2016
The United States thanks the Commission of Inquiry for its work and for its report on the terrible human rights situation in Eritrea. We have repeatedly expressed grave concern about the human rights situation in Eritrea, both in the UN and bilaterally, and the Commission’s findings reinforce our concern. We take note of the Commission’s conclusion that there are reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in Eritrea.
With thousands of Eritreans fleeing their country each month, the Council must continue to look for ways to improve the country’s dire human rights situation. We strongly encourage the Government of Eritrea to engage fully with the international community and UN bodies to address its human rights challenges. The Government’s willingness to work on several Universal Period Review recommendations is a step in the right direction. We also urge Eritrea to implement its constitution, hold national elections, honor its commitment to limit the duration of national service to 18 months, develop an independent and transparent judiciary, and release persons arbitrarily detained including political prisoners, journalists, and members of religious groups.
The United States recognizes that the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, including the Special Rapporteur, are important tools for the international community to strengthen its engagement with Eritrea. We call on the Government of Eritrea to grant access to the Special Rapporteur and urge the government to consider ways that working with the Special Rapporteur could improve the human rights situation in Eritrea.
Beyond granting access to the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea, what are concrete steps that the Government of Eritrea to demonstrate seriousness of purpose for addressing its human rights challenges?